Definition of monophonic in English:



  • 1(of sound reproduction) using only one channel of transmission.

    Compare with stereophonic
    • ‘A new release will have you twisting and shouting in living monophonic sound.’
    • ‘The soundtrack is two-channel mono, and is very good with a spacious quality that belies its monophonic nature.’
    • ‘In reality the source recordings are specified as monophonic; there are no processing instructions in the score to synthesize the necessary localization cues.’
    • ‘Dialogue, effects, and music were all clean and generally distortion free, but the track sounds monophonic and is localized to the center speaker.’
    • ‘The results are probably about as rich-sounding as is possible from monophonic sound.’
    • ‘The track is very monophonic, with no directional effects leaking out.’
    • ‘The sound quality is very good considering the source is often monophonic optical tracks (some of the soundtracks from the mid-1950s onward are sourced from magnetic tape).’
    • ‘Over the past 50 years, audio has progressed rapidly from monophonic to stereophonic sound, followed by quadraphonic audio, and Dolby surround sound.’
    • ‘The soundtrack has been remixed into Dolby Surround, although for the most part the track is monophonic.’
    • ‘The sound is monophonic and clear for the most part.’
    • ‘This is the appropriate choice, as Chaplin always made his films in monophonic sound.’
    • ‘The monophonic sound of each mix gives the viewer a real sense of what it must have been like to have experienced these shorts for the first time in the 1920s and 1930s.’
  • 2Music
    Having a single melodic line without harmonies or melody in counterpoint.

    ‘the style of monophonic singing known as Gregorian chant’
    Compare with homophonic and polyphonic
    • ‘In its earliest recorded form, plainchant, the monophonic music of the Western Church, varies from extreme simplicity to great complexity.’
    • ‘Harmonization thus becomes not a means in itself, bur another aspect of the ‘perpetual variation’ process of an essentially monophonic melody.’
    • ‘With the arrival of other more advanced ringtone technologies, monophonic ringtones are now available for free at different web sites.’
    • ‘The songs are monophonic, with harmony taking the form of a drone.’
    • ‘It is a mark of Pahud's musicianship that even the monophonic instrumental line sounds richly harmonized and balanced on this recording.’
    • ‘Bartok used many seconds and sevenths found in monophonic Hungarian folk music.’


Early 19th century: from mono- ‘one’ + Greek phonē ‘sound’ + -ic.